By raising the possibility that an outdated amnesty decree could apply to a former military leader’s genocide charges, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court is not merely going against the country’s own laws, but also breaching the widely accepted if still nascent norm of international human rights law that prohibits amnesties for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Zambia won international praise in 2011 for free and fair elections that led to a peaceful transfer of power to the longtime opposition party—a rarity in Southern Africa. However, recent democratic setbacks in the country, overshadowed by threats to freedom in larger countries like Mali, Kenya, and South Africa, have yet to attract much attention abroad.
Democracy advocates would do well to scrutinize the white paper released last month by the Scottish National Party in preparation for an independence referendum scheduled for September 2014. The document and the vote it heralds may have important implications for the viability of multinational democracies elsewhere, the global balance of forces between free and authoritarian countries, and the fundamental notion of democracy as a sturdy supplier of good governance.
For those aiming to promote democracy around the globe, Mandela’s life holds invaluable lessons for current and future struggles for freedom. He is renowned for his principled opposition to a racist and undemocratic regime in South Africa, but his cause was also the cause of all people who seek to uphold the universal principles of liberty and equality, anywhere in the world.
People all around the world are mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, but it is in South Africa—the country he helped to liberate from oppression—that the loss is most keenly felt. In this blog post, staff members from Freedom House’s Johannesburg office have shared what Mandela means to them and their reactions to his passing.
If U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel truly wants to support regional stability and U.S. interests at this week’s security summit in Bahrain, he would do well to push the Bahraini government to implement political reforms.
The six countries of the Eastern Partnership program lag far behind their closest neighbors in the EU. But this is a testament to the bloc’s past successes, and a sign that it must help these states build up their democratic institutions.